My gf’s going to Manila tomorrow for two weeks. And despite having spent a few days in Macau just over a week ago, I’m feeling the urge to get on a plane and go somewhere. There is the temptation to head off somewhere on my own for a week or so (many destinations are not available to us as a couple due to visa issues). One stray thought was a Bangkok run. I haven’t been to Bangkok in two years. Normally I’ve gone at least once a year to get my physical exam at Bumrungrad Hospital and I’m sure my friend and not-on-the-internet tattoo artist Jimmy Wong is wondering what might have happened to me.
Then a friend clued me in to the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in the Alabang section of Manila. It’s part-owned by Bumrungrad and they’ve got some sort of hand in its operations. It seems to be set up along the same international standards and targeting medical tourism. I looked into their “executive health check-up” packages and found that the one for men over 50 is almost double the price of the Bangkok package. Looking deeper into it, the Manila one includes a virtual colonoscopy and the Bangkok one doesn’t – that would account for the difference in price and at my age, I’m told I need to get that checked. Just read over on Wikipedia that this procedure is still not universally accepted but doing it via a scan seems a whole lot more pleasant than getting a camera shoved up my butt.
So that’s booked for me for next week. One day at the hospital, one day for walking around for a bit of shopping and eating, hopefully zero days for anything family-related and then back home. Air fare is definitely cheap enough – managed to get a “promo fare” from Cebu Pacific Air – just HK$300 for the HK-Manila part (but HK$580 for the return flight)(both plus tax – around HK$150 in HK and HK$6 in Manila). Almost definitely we’ll have one dinner at Abe, the wonderful Campanpangan Filipino restaurant at Serendra that pays tribute to Filipino writers and artists. Any suggestions for other “must-try” spots appreciated – I think there are some new spots in Greenbelt 5 but not sure which if any would be worth trying.
One thing – I don’t think I’m gonna go walking around the streets of Manila (or even Makati for that matter) carrying a Nikon D300 with that big 24-70mm lens. No offense meant to Manila but I suspect that would be asking for trouble.